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An e-magazine for Alumni & Friends of The American School In Switzerland

Spring 2013

A New Chapter Spring 2013 1

Transformations are part of life, especially at TASIS.

eT Creative Team Design/Concept/Writer: Kim Nelson

Our 5th Graders spent a day in April shadowing 6th Graders, learning a bit about

Writer/Editor: Kristin Pedroja

what life will be like next year. The 8th Grade Moving Up Ceremony marks these

Copyeditor: Yvonne Procyk

students’ shift into High School. And, of course, our end-of-year activities for our

Photography/Story Contributors: Kim Nelson, Michele Josue ’97, Tim Venchus, Taylor Tomasso ’13, Michelle

seniors mark their final days of high school before the rest of their lives begins.

Arslanian, Michele Kestenholz, Craig

For alumni who returned for the Celebration of the Ferit Şahenk Fine Arts Center, the new

Trudeau, Frank Long, Josh Keith,

buildings and spaces on the TASIS campus were surprising, yet impressive. The campus will


many other students and faculty members

continue changing with the building of Campo Science and the continuation of the TASIS Global Village construction. And, TASIS will be saying goodbye to Headmaster Michael Ulku-Steiner and welcoming Dr. Charlie Skipper. Change. It’s inevitable, sometimes scary, often exciting. It always leads to opportunities to stretch and grow.



The American School in Switzerland

Story Highlights

04 08 18 20 26 32 36 38

Five Years We say goodbye to Headmaster Michael Ulku-Steiner, who has helped transform our community in so many ways.

Campus News Milestones for teachers, faculty weddings, a piano masterclass, and a new Headmaster!

TASIS Parent Association Learn more about how the TASIS Parent Association makes life better in our community.

SHOUT it Out! From buying goats to reading digital books, our active Elementary School Service Learning program is teaching students the value of service.

Spring Arts Festival Our 2013 festival was a rousing success!

The Gala

In May, we celebrated the Grand Opening of the Ferit Şahenk Fine Arts Center with a weekend of food, conversation, and music!

Alumni News Reunion updates and more!

The Hero’s Journey An essay by Alina Chavez Pustilnik ’16

Photo Galleries


Website Links

Look for these links to explore the extended information provided on our website. Spring 2013 3

Heading Out...


People kept thanking me this month, but in fact it is Beril, Kenan, Lucy, and I who ought to be doing the thanking. We have been exceedingly lucky to spend two chapters of our lives in Montagnola. Each year has been an adventure - with our children changing and growing even more rapidly than TASIS and its campus. If I have helped fix more things than I have broken here, it’s because of the collaboration of a tireless faculty and staff, and a recipe (written by Mrs. Fleming and enhanced by her daughter and the Board) that really works. TASIS is an inspiring, dizzying, messy, striving, wonderful school. As with all our students, we will be forever changed by our experience here. Grazie e ci vediamo! Michael Ulku-Steiner

Incredible Grace Dear Michael: You and Beril have provided a safe harbor for me at TASIS. I feel endlessly grateful for the incredible generosity you show in your leadership. No task is beneath you and your work ethic is unsurpassed, which makes it a delight to work for and with you. You approach your job with passion, your stories and toasts are unparalleled, you are kind in your responses to our idiosyncrasies, and you temper the many whims and personalities of TASIS with incredible grace. Mostly, you are just good at your core and that makes this community a better place. I hope that Durham Academy is a happy landing spot for you and your family. Thank you for everything. (Arrington McCoy, Faculty Member)Spring 2013


Youthful Gravitas and Wise Vision Michael lives his role as Headmaster with youthful gravitas and wise vision. Regardless of the topic, he remains open minded and focused, intent on understanding the issue at hand. He unabashedly motivates stakeholders to take responsibility. I particularly enjoy his wickedly compassionate sense of humor and his pragmatic temperament steeped in humanism. (Alexandra Heumann Wicki ’80, Alumna & TASIS Board Director)

The Exception The job calls for unusual diplomatic skill in juggling the demands of the owners with those of the faculty, staff, students, and parents, while keeping your own ideals and principles front and center. Michael has judged the balance well, aiming to be the school of choice in Europe with character virtues ahead and center, while dealing kindly, articulately, professionally, and when necessary firmly with the all the constituents. (Paul Greenwood, Faculty Member)


Always-Wise Counsel Michael: Thank you for providing us with the opportunity to trade the heat and humidity of Houston for the beauty and charm of Ticino. Thank you for your always-wise counsel and your willingness always to make the time to meet. Thank you for your open and frequent communication, your sometimes funny, sometimes serious, but always meaningful and memorable stories (we have shared your story about Lucy jumping on the bed countless times to friends and family). Thank you for the wonderful personal and professional support you have always given us. Most of all, thank you for your commitment to excellence in all you do, and please remember your TASIS friends. Best wishes always to you and your family. (The Birks, College Counselors)

Dare to Dream

A book honoring Michael Ulku-Steiner

Available to view or purchase by following this link. Dare to Dream

Spring 2013 7

campus news

We welcome new Headmaster Charlie Skipper and his wife Anne to our community! The Skippers are excited to be joining the TASIS community in just a few weeks. The opportunity to return to a boarding school culture is one of the many things that originally attracted us to TASIS early last fall. Having spent half of our careers in boarding and boarding/day schools, we know that the lessons, impact, and lifelong friendships that form in residential schools with students, faculty, and the community are special. Adding to that dimension of TASIS is the international perspective and experience – we can always learn about and from others, and in that learning, we are enriched, as is our world. We have two wonderful sons, Benjamin and Jacob, and while both are out of the house, we are confident that they will be visiting TASIS often over our time here. Benjamin, and his wife, Jennifer, are parents to our two grandchildren, Jackson (6 years) and Peyton (4 years), or the ‘mini-momos’ as we often call them. Benjamin is the Director of the Undergraduate Program for the Jefferson Scholars at the University of Virginia, and Jennifer is a professional photographer. Our son Jacob is an Associate Sports Information Director at the College of William and Mary. He is very busy working in media relations and attending games for his six major sports (and nine teams total) all three seasons for W&M, but it is a job he enjoys. We are complete personality opposites – on the Myers-Briggs Personality Type test, Charlie is a big picture person and Anne is more detailed; Charlie is extrovert and Anne the introvert; Charlie

is the thinker and Anne the sensor; and Charlie is intuitive while Anne is a harmonizer/empathizer. What it all means in the end, is that we fit and work together well in most cases, balancing each other out – that helps explain why we will enjoy our 35th wedding anniversary in August. Over the years, we have worked together at the same schools for most of our married life. Charlie enjoys many sports activities, while Anne not so much. In fact, you could say we are opposites here as well – coordinated and not so coordinated are fit descriptors! Finally, Charlie is the adventurer/traveler, and Anne, well you guessed it, not so much. However, Anne is getting better at it, and is looking forward to our move to Europe and travels beyond.

TASIS Board of Directors TASIS is fortunate to have an active and involved group of men and women at the helm. Our Board of Directors leads/handles the School’s operations, activities, and objectives, and includes TASIS alumni and professionals in the educational, legal, and business world. They visit campus every few months to touch base with teachers, students, and parents. We appreciate the work they put into our community. Visit this link to learn a little more about the people on our Board. Gianni Patuzzo, Fernando Gonzalez, Alexandra Heumann Wicki ’80, Curtis McGraw Webster ’75, Riccardo Braglia, Lynn Fleming Aeschliman ’63, Jan Opsahl ’68, Rick Bell PG ’65, Jennifer Bullard Broggini, Berkley Latimer 8 eTASIS

Educating the Educators

P.L.A.Y. 3 (Professional Learning Academic Year)

campus news

Teachers are a tricky lot…most love to teach, but also love to learn! We’re in awe of our staff members who balance a very busy TASIS life with their own coursework to continue their education. Natalie Philpot has been in charge of Academic Travel for many years, and she has just received her Master’s in Tourism Administration from the George Washington University School of Business, which focused on sustainable tourism, events management, and sports management. Science teacher Brett Merritt was granted his Ph.D. in Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education from Michigan State University in May 2013. He focused on Science Education and is most interested in teaching and learning in the “STEM” fields – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Interim Dean of Student Affairs Jennifer Blum received her Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership with a focus in Private School Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University through the Klingenstein Center this spring. Congratulations to Jen on her degree and her new position at Friends Seminary, where she will take on the role of Assistant Head of Upper School/Dean of Students.

On March 20, all PK-12 teachers took part in an on-campus professional learning conference. This marks the third time in two years that the School has held such a conference, where TASIS teachers share their knowledge and expertise with their colleagues through a series of workshops. The 12 workshops displayed the wide range and interests of TASIS teachers. While several workshops focused on the use of network technology as a way to enhance instruction, there were also workshops entitled “Unplug” and “Thinking Deeply” that offered pedagogical techniques without electrons. TASIS teachers have welcomed these on-campus conferences enthusiastically, and the School plans on two more conferences for 2013-14.

Holly Wiens also received her Master’s in International Education with an ESL Specialization from Endicott College. We wish teachers Anna Kavalauskas, Stephanie Roth, Perri Sartorelli, and Danny Schiff all the best as they all begin the distance-learning Endicott College Master’s in Education in the fall.

P.L.A.Y. 3 Photos Faculty Photos 2012-2013 Spring 2013 9

campus news

Faculty Tie the Knot

Admissions Staff on the Road Our excellent admissions team has traveled the world this year in search of the perfect students to add to our community! Either Admissions Director Bill Eichner or Associate Director Emily McKee have visited China, Turkey, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Bulgaria, Venezuela, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Germany, Hong Kong, Brazil, the UAE, Bahrain, and the US. Every year, Bill and Emily meet with countless families to speak with them about what makes TASIS such a special place. Their upto-date travel schedule is available online. If you’re in the area, let Bill or Emily know! They love meeting with our extended community around the world.

There must be something in the water! In May two faculty members were married, and this summer two more TASIS faculty will tie the knot. Congratulations HS members Matt Walker and Andrea George (May 18), MS teacher Tom Lill and Helen Summers (May 5), HS teacher Kerry Vogelgesang and ES teacher Tim Venchus (July 13), and MS teachers Masa Yo and Sonia Maczeakova (August 17). More weddings are on tap for next summer, with HS teacher Peter Locke and MS teacher Sarah Grove, and MS teacher Prash Sinnathamby and his fiancée

Pamela planning June 2014 weddings. Congratulations to all the happy couples!

Click here for the Admissions On the Road schedule for the upcoming months.

Apply to TASIS

Reading Material: Student Publications

The 2013 Vox Populi is a fantastic collection of stories, art, photographs, and essays by TASIS students. Read the newest edition here.


Ever wondered what the Tooth Fairy looks like? Or, how animal cells are made? Take a look at the newest ES TASIS Times, where you’ll read all this and more! Well done to our youngest writers and artists!

Congratulations to the 2012-2013 TASIS Yearbook staff, who spent many hours compiling our first yearbook that includes all three divisions! Yearbooks were given to students during the last week of May.

Spotlight MS Service Learning: Cometa In September 2012, our Middle School students began their Service Learning relationship with Cometa, an organization based in Como that works with foster children, runs a trade school, and builds community spirit between families in the area. Teachers Irene Avaldi and Lorenzo Bianchini lead the TASIS group, which visited Cometa in January after spending many months learning about the organization and fundraising. They spent the morning visiting the Cometa school, joining students in their classes, and speaking with them about their goals and ambitions. Cometa student chefs prepared a delicious lunch. The group joined Cometa children in their afterschool program, playing games in English in a field outside the school. The TASIS students enjoyed the experience. “Visiting Cometa was an awesome experience that made me more aware about the world that we live in. Although the children deal daily with difficult situations, it is not a sad place, it is the exact opposite,” said Filippo, a 6th Grader. Adam, an 8th Grader, concurred. “We helped kids with their English by playing games. “We came back home with great memories of Cometa and we are eager to come back again”.

campus news

Visiting Cometa was an awesome experience that made me more aware about the world that we live in. Although the children deal daily with difficult situations, it is not a sad place, it is the exact opposite.”

(Filippo, 6th Grade)

I really like Cometa. It is fun.

(Gad, 6th Grade)

We went to Cometa and saw the school first. It is like an ordinary Italian school, but with very interesting design. Each floor has its own color and all the desks and chairs on that floor are in that color. I think it is very original, and I liked it.” (Ilya, 7th Grade)

“ MS Service Learning Information

The past year in the Cometa Service Learning group has been exciting and very educational. We have made two trips to Como with the purpose of understanding how this unique system gives new hope to kids who aren’t as lucky as us. We came to the conclusion that the patience and affection that the people there express made all this possible.” (Adam, 8th Grade)

Spring 2013 11

campus news

Young Pianists Concert

TASIS was delighted to host a special spring symphony concert featuring young piano protégés performing with the Mihail Jora Bacau Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Ovidiu Balan. The concert featured J. Haydn’s Concerto in re maggiore, W.A. Mozart’s Concerto K488, F. Mendelssohn’s Concerto op. 25 n. 1, and S. Rachmaninoff’s Concerto op. 18 n. 2. The young pianists, aged 9 to 18, included

Michelle Candotti, Victoria Daninisa Contreras Borislova, and Yuta Yano, along with TASIS student Jacopo Federico Maria McConnell, who has recently taken part in a Masterclass featuring Milanese Maestro Vincenzo Balzani (see below).

Antonella has collaborated with TASIS Music Coordinator Samantha Forrest to create a special opportunity for music lovers from TASIS and the broader Lugano community.

Admission was free. We owe thanks to TASIS parent Antonella Carminati McConnell for her vision and generosity with this concert. Along with Maestro Vincenzo Balzani,

more information, visit www.

This traveling showcase will also visit Milan, Como, Biella, Vighizzolo, and Cantu. For

Piano Concert Photos

Piano Masterclass at TASIS Special Masterclasses for TASIS piano students were held in April. For three days, TASIS students had the opportunity to work with Maestro Vincenzo Balzani. Maestro Balzani’s career began at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan as a protégé of Alberto Mozzati, under whose guidance he developed into a world-renowned concert pianist. After many years on the international concert stage, Maestro Balzani has returned to pass on his wealth of experience to the next generation of gifted young musicians.

Piano Masterclass Photos


It was an honor and privilege for TASIS students to be included in his Masterclasses, where they had private lessons to help further their technique and performance skills, in particular their understanding and application of practice and memorization techniques. A concert was held at the end of the Masterclasses for the TASIS community, friends, and families of the young musicians.

campus news

The Word Parade

Word Parade Photos

On May 30 our 3rd Graders participated in a Vocabulary Parade. This annual event requires students to choose a word from history, geography, or science to present. Students create costumes that represent the definitions of their word, and wear their costume in


Achilles heel

the special parade. The route began at Hadsall, then looped around the fountain by the Palestra before moving to the Palmer Center for a short presentation to an audience of many Elementary students and teachers. Well done, 3rd Graders!


flora Spring 2013 13

campus news

A Great Year for TASIS Athletics! TASIS has a problem: the athletics trophy case is too small for the awards TASIS athletes brought home this year! Our studentathletes had a hugely successful year, and we congratulate all of them on their stellar achievements.

TASIS 2012-2013 Athletic Team Highlights October 2012 November 2012

December 2012 February 2013

March 2013

Varsity Cross Country Girls NISAA Meet Joanna Egan ’15 & Aidan Brooks ’15 (Champion)

Next year’s athletics schedule is 80% done and is already packed with events. We’ve added a new MS girls soccer team in the fall and MS girls volleyball team in the spring. Visit the Athletics pages on the TASIS website for the most up-to-date information. Next year’s schedule will be going up later this month.

Gallery of the Year’s Best Sports Photos


April 2013

Varsity Boys Soccer - SGIS Champions Varsity Boys Volleyball - SGIS Champions Varsity Girls Volleyball - SGIS 3rd Place Girls Junior Varsity Volleyball - 2nd Place Varsity Boys TASIS Basketball Tournament - 1st Place Varsity Boys NISAA Basketball Tournament - 2nd Place Varsity Girls SGIS Basketball Tournament - 3rd Place Varsity Girls NISAA Basketball Tournament - 2nd Place Varsity Boys SCIS Basketball Tournament - 1st Place Varsity Girls SCIS Basketball Tournament - 1st Place Category C Invitational Ski Race (Lausanne) - 1st Place Varsity Boys/Girls Tennis SGIS - 1st Place Mixed Doubles Varsity Boys/Girls Tennis SGIS - 2nd Place Mixed Doubles Varsity Boys SGIS - 3rd Place for Boys Doubles Varsity Girls SGIS - 3rd Place for Girls Doubles

TASIS will be part of two conferences in the 2013-2014 school year. In addition to the Swiss Group of International (SGIS) Schools, TASIS will be joining the Northern Italy School Athletic Association (NISAA), consisting of seven international schools from Milan, Trieste, and Lugano.

campus news

Prep Academy Sports System and TASIS work on Joint Program TASIS has joined forces with FC Lugano to collaborate on the Prep Academy Sports System (PASS). This partnership allows young American athletes to train with FC Lugano, and enjoy the competitive advantages of a top European soccer club. While training, the students attend TASIS, keeping their academics on track for US college admission. Project PASS offers first-class training and the opportunity for young American athletes to travel and live abroad. Roberto Sorgesa, president of the FC Lugano youth sector, announced the initiative at a March 27 press conference in the Palmer Center. “These kids need to go beyond just kicking a

ball,” he said. “This program aims to build a bridge between countries. We form athletes, but most of all we mold young people into individuals who respect the rules and their opponent. This, together with discipline, is vital to what we are trying to do. The students will take these lessons with them their entire lives.” During the press conference, Prep Academy Sport System promoter Emanuele Gaiarin explained, “The vision of this project was born a year and a half ago. We are putting a bridge between two poles - the school on one side and the athletic club on the other. The two are indispensable elements for Project PASS to be a success. Lugano offered

its best right away - the Cornaredo Soccer Stadium and TASIS. In Lugano we found an incomparable sense of open-mindedness towards this initiative. This is why we chose Switzerland as the location to launch this very special project.”

Click the above graphic to view the PASS website.

Upper 90 College Soccer Trial On Campus On April 20-21, TASIS hosted the firstever Upper 90 College Soccer Trials for student-athletes who were interested in playing soccer in colleges and universities in the United States. We had 16 players who attended the two-day trials, of which

12 were TASIS student-athletes. Two professional scouts from the Upper 90 College recruitment company put athletes through skills training and game situations and provided an assessment letting the players know how they could fit within the

college game. Athletes received high-level technical training and an assessment of their skills, strengths, areas of improvement and more importantly, a realistic assessment of their current soccer level. The scouts then provide recruiting services to the athletes and work with coaches in the US that are looking for players. The goal for having the Upper 90 Soccer Trials at TASIS was to provide our athletes with an opportunity to find out what was needed if they were interested in playing after high school. In addition to the soccer trials, the Upper 90 also hosted a free seminar for parents and players which included topics such as academics, athletics, setting goals, recruiting options, an indepth information regarding collegiate programs and scholarships, and a question/ answer session. The feedback from students and parents was very positive and we are looking to expand our partnership with the organization in the coming year. Upper 90 Photos Spring 2013 15

Electric House Project The students in Introductory Physics spent the last month of school studying direct current electricity. The project required students to design a house and then install a complicated combination circuit which consisted of four different series and parallel circuit constructions. When presenting their house, the students reflected on the relative brightness of the bulbs in each circuit, and applied their conceptual understanding of the topic to explain the differences in the brightness. They also provided calculations that supported their reflections.

Bridges In their study of forces, Introductory Physics students designed, built, and tested toothpick bridges. Throughout the course of their project, they explored the strength of a variety of shapes and learned about forces like tension, compression, and shearing. They directly applied their scientific knowledge to increase the amount of the weight each model of their bridge could hold.


all about physics High School Physics


Nothing happens until something moves.�

- Albert Einstein

ES Pulley Photos

Contact the ES Office for Password.

ES Plays with Pulleys Spring 2013 17

“I have really enjoyed being involved with the TASIS Parent Association. So much of our life during the school year revolves around the activities and events at TASIS. It was natural for me to get involved. I have met lifelong friends and also have enjoyed getting to know other parents.”

The TASIS Parent Association

behind t

The TPA gives parents a chance to be directly involved by supporting TASIS students and teachers.

Impressed that your child uses an iPad in her classes? Laughing

The 2012 Spring Gala raised over CHF 65,000 for TASIS

along with your son on the Hadsall playground? Excited about the

programs, 20,000 of which went towards the science campaign;

new science building? Thank the TASIS Parent Association (TPA),

20,000 towards the TASIS Lighthouse Project; 10,000 for the new

which continues to be an influential and important part of our

Belvedere playing field; 5,000 to the music department; and 5,000


to the ES art department.

Parents have been involved with

The TPA also sets its sights beyond the

TASIS for many years, but in 2008

Collina d’Oro. The 2012 Christmas

this group was formalized as a

Market raised CHF 900 for Fondazione

means to provide communication

OTAF, which is focused on helping

and support within our community.

locals with a disability.

From assisting new TASIS families to annual teacher appreciation

This past year TPA organized

dinners, sponsoring the annual

luncheons, an Asian cooking class and a

Fall Festival to creating spring final

trip to Luino Market. Lunch, cooking,

exam care packages, the TPA offers

and shopping made for some great days

countless ways for parents to get

together. This coming year more day

involved and help support TASIS.

trips are being planned.

All TASIS parents, both boarding and day, are encouraged to join

TASIS is grateful to the TPA for its commitment to improving our

the TPA. Membership is free and includes newsletters and emails

School. Thanks to all TPA volunteers! If you want to be involved

to keep you in the loop about what’s happening on campus.

please contact the TPA at


TPA Event Photos

the scenes

Spring 2013 19

April 22-26 marked Students Helping Out (SHOUT) Week at TASIS Elementary, a week dedicated to service and helping others.

SHOUT it Out It’s a great way for our younger students to get involved,” says Julia Wilkins. “Our Pre-K, 3rd Graders, and 5th Graders are partnering with a High School group, which helps build connections in our community.”

Throughout the school year, every grade level has worked with a different service theme and organization, and SHOUT Week gives students the chance to learn about each other’s projects.TASIS parents have been especially involved this year. One family of a Grade 1 student donated enough money to purchase two goats, and the 4th Grade project was inspired by parent Rachael La Gamba.

SHOUT Week was so successful that it will become an annual event. “Pre-K through 12 will be adopting service standards which will further define our expectations for teachers and students,” says Julia Wilkins, who is in charge of Service Learning in the ES. Julia has been building this program for three years, and is delighted to see it taking off. “We are treating Service Learning as part of the curriculum and culture

SHOUT Photos

Contact the ES Office for Password.

of the School,” she says. “We are already brainstorming ways to make it better, such as giving more responsibility to the students. It’s not just about SHOUT Week; it’s also about making service part of every day, and something students work towards


throughout the year.”

Beads made by the Pre-K for Casa Elisabetta


Students made handcrafted beads in their homeroom; 500 beads were donated to Casa Elisabetta, a shelter for children in Lugano. Kindergarten Students sponsored a medical supplies drive. They collected many suitcases of supplies, which will be taken to a clinic in Zambia in June. Students were sponsored to track the number of dairy servings Grade 1 they consumed in a week, and encouraged others to consider their dairy consumption. They collected enough money to buy Grade 2

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5

six goats for The Heifer Project. Students asked everyone to wear a green shirt to school on Monday, April 22 in honor of Earth Day. All students participated in a campus-wide clean-up, which was extended through the rest of the year, making students more careful about their litter and environment. Our 3rd Graders started a business with a small loan from TASIS! Business Manager Dr. Max Gygax gave our 3rd Graders an excellent presentation about the difference between a loan and donation, the finer points of running a business, and the cycle of money in the world. The High School KIVA group worked with students to better understand microloans and KIVA. Students brainstormed what they could sell during SHOUT week, and decided on bracelets. They sold four different bracelets for CHF 5 each during arrival, recess, and dismissal, and all proceeds went to KIVA ( Students raised CHF 1700, which was then loaned through KIVA.

HS KIVA student meets with 3rd graders

Cleaning up the campus

Learning about digital books and how they work

In addition the third grade read the book One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference. is a microfinance site for children, and TASIS will be featured in July. Students partnered with younger ES students to record digital books for the TASIS library. The students taught others how to record more than 15 books. Students sponsored a Family Movie Night to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. Tickets were sold for CHF 20 and included pizza and admittance for one child and one parent. The event raised CHF 1200 for Habitat for Humanity Spring 2013 21

Third grade students selling KIVA bracelets.

walking for wate Senior Sarah Wyler started a campaign for charity: water during the 2011-2012 school year as a personal service project. This year Sarah wanted to restart her campaign, and asked Sasquatch (a club encouraging and promoting creativity in our community) to give her a hand. The group set out to raise at least $400 towards the campaign through the fall Coffee House event and also selling 2013 desk calendars. In the spring term, Sarah talked with Service Learning coordinator Zach Mulert, whose previous school had held Walks for Water where people would get pledges and carry water for a predetermined distance. Sasquatch jumped on board to help Sarah with the project. The TASIS Walk for Water event was held on Wednesday, May 1. Each participant carried a 10-, 15-, or 20-kilogram bucket over a one-kilometer course. Many women in Africa carry a 20-kilogram bucket for five kilometers every day. For as much as our students seemed to complain about walking just one kilometer, it was a great wake-up about the daily reality many in the world face. Over 100 people participated, from young children to faculty, and due to nine generous donors, over CHF 1500 was raised for the project. Here’s a link to the Sasquatch campaign with charity: water.

Walk for Water Photos 22 eTASIS

Walk for Water Video

In Service to Others Our various Service Learning groups have worked hard this year, raising over CHF 15,500 in total to help others. Events have included everything from bake sales to a Christmas market, head-shaving to a soccer World Cup. We’re proud of our students and their commitment to spreading the word about their chosen organizations. Next year will mark the inaugural year of the Global Service Program. We’re still ironing out the details, but this special program will give most TASIS upperclassmen hands-on experience working with particular organizations. Stay tuned to learn more about this special program!

Spring 2013 23

arts festiv

Mary Poppins Who can resist a Spoonful of Sugar? The ES Musical was about everyone’s favorite nanny - Mary Poppins! The ES students began working on the musical during the after school activity time slot, meeting twice a week throughout the winter and spring terms. From the youngest audience member who had never heard of Mary Poppins to the parents who grew up singing “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, the musical was a triumph.

This year’s Middle School Musical, I Want a Dog!, is the story of a typical family who embarks on an emergency road trip to visit an allegedly ailing grandfather. Along the way, unexpected events occur that throw the family off-course, including a run-in with the police! Premiered during Arts Festival weekend, the show featured two casts of children who challenged themselves to perform, some for the first time ever! This original musical was the brainchild of Director Gillian Eames and Emmy-winning composer Jamie Broza. Gillian and Jamie have known one another since high school. They had kept in touch over the years, and Gillian approached him in mid-2012 about using some of the songs from his hugely successful CDs (Bad Mood Mom, My Daddy is Scratchy, and I Want a Dog!) to create a musical for middle school children. “The song ‘Are We There Yet?’ was a perfect place to start,” Gillian says. “A family piling into the car was a great inciting incident, and the story began to take shape.” Jamie continues, “I have 35 songs that we went through and we found the ones that would work best with our ideas. Once we had the story set, we needed new, original songs to help move the story along, so I got to work.” Having the songs drive the story is an unusual way to approach writing, but,

ES/MS Spring Musical Photo Galleries

Mary Poppins (ES) Contact the ES Office for Password.

I Want a Dog! (MS) 24 eTASIS

val and more I Want a Dog! - the MS Musical as Jamie says, “This particular collection of songs happen to be more theater songs than pop songs. They start in one place lyrically and end in another.” The entire process was collaborative. Gillian would write scenes, send them to Jamie, and he would tweak them and send them back to her, and the process would continue. “My inclination was to have the songs move the plot along, so I tried to make the songs an event,” Jamie says. The songs, along with witty dialogue, made for a charming story that sends a message of the importance of family. Now that the musical has been premiered and was successful, they may try it out on American kids. “Musicals are always a work-in-progress, until they run out of time or money,” Jamie says. “We hope to mount a production in the US, further tighten and improve it, then give it to a licensing company that would enable schools around the world to mount productions easily.” And with catchy tunes such as “Are We There Yet?”, “Bad Mood Mom”, and “I Want a Dog” in the heads of performers and our community as a whole, these songs, and the message of this charming musical, will resonate for a long time.

Music The collina was alive with the sound of music throughout the Arts Festival! Choral concerts, outdoor jam sessions, guest performers, and the final concert gave our community a chance to shine.



Our High School Drama students performed small sketches, skits, and monologues throughout the festival.

One of the first events of the Arts Festival featured students performing original poetry and reciting excerpts from Shakespeare in the Palmer Center.



Sunday Workshops Sunday’s sunshine made for excellent workshop conditions! Artist and artisan workshops included bead-making, pottery, tile painting, and print-making. Wandering minstrels and magicians entertained the crowds throughout the day. After a cold and rainy spring, a sunny end to the Arts Festival was welcomed!

Spring Arts Festival Photos Spring 2013 27

Elementary School

ES Field Day Photos

Contact the ES Office for the password.

Photos, photos, and more photos! 28 eTASIS

ES Final Ceremony

Contact the ES Office for the password.

MS End-of-the-Year Photos


High School

Middle School

MS Moving Up Ceremony Photos

Prom Photos

HS Senior Banquet & Graduation Photos

e-year celebrations Spring 2013 29

coming home It is impossible to capture in words how special the Arts Festival/ Ferit Şahenk Fine Arts Center celebration weekend was to those alumni who returned to campus after years (and for some, decades!) since their last visit. Current Visual Arts students were in for a real treat as many of the honorees visited photography, architecture & design, and drawing & painting classes. Before the Serata Ticinese on Friday night Ferit Şahenk got his first look at the building which bears his name. His presence, along with the honorees, spoke volumes to the current students of the possibility of being successful as an artist and also about giving back. Many of the honorees talked of the stimulus of meeting each other and exchanging creative ideas. The students simply wished the guest artists could have stayed in their classes much longer! Again, thank you very much for including me and honoring me. I was truly flattered and enjoyed myself immensely meeting new friends, engaging in art discussions, and seeing the new facility, as well as speaking with the students in the art classes.” ­— Steve Maloney PG’61

“I tremendously enjoyed my time in Lugano. I actually spent a good amount of time on campus - in the art studio, at the terrace BBQ, at the Gala, as well as spending quality time with Horst. I couldn’t believe that it had been close to 15 years since the last time I was on campus. It was more than worthwhile quite magical indeed.” — Rei Inamoto ’92

The festive weekend kicked off with an evening which officially inaugurated our new party space, the Kay Hamblin Terrace, aptly located between the Palmer Center theater and the Şahenk Fine Arts Center. Kay was with us to hear Rick Bell PG’65 dedicate the terrace and invite alumni to ‘pull the spare $100,000 out of their pocket’ and donate it to TASIS! The catering – typically Ticinese fare of delicious risotto, sausage, and cheese – was by our own Angelo Piattini, with a little help from his friends (‘La Pentola’). As the evening progressed and mellowed, people reconnected with friends and classmates as well as making new acquaintances over Merlot or Feldschlösschen shared with alumni from another decade. And many great TASIS stories were told!

Serata Ticinese Photos

serata ticinese

Grand Opening of the Ferit Şahenk ’83 Fine Arts Center 32 eTASIS

The weekend of May 10-11 celebrated many things: the TASIS Arts Festival, 80s class reunions (most notably the Class of ’83), and the Grand Opening of the Ferit Şahenk ’83 Fine Arts Center. Over 200 alumni plus friends from around the globe gathered in the Palestra for an evening of delicious food, delightful speeches, good music, an entertaining auction, memorable videos, and lots of dancing! Everyone was in high spirits as TASIS honored four of our most beloved arts teachers, Mark Aeschliman, Horst Dürrschmidt, David Badgley, and Fernando Gonzalez. The evening also honored seven alumni whose careers in the visual arts have brought them great success and renown: Eda Aksoy ’05, Rei Inamoto ’92, Barry Iverson ’74, Steve Maloney PG’61, Umit Benin Şahin ’98, Mary Kelton Seyfarth PG’66, and Chi-Kang Tou ’94.

Spring 2013 33

Bright Lights, Big Palestra Walking into the venue, you immediately noticed the play of light and shadow and the richness of textures and colors. Flickering candlelight added ambience to the darkened room, and a thrilling buzz was in the air. And if you stopped for a moment and looked up, you’d see a basketball net, a scoreboard, and the bleachers hidden behind a black drape. Transforming our Palestra into a classy venue fit for a gala is no small feat. Yet it took Michele Josue ’97 and her army of helpers only 56 hours to convert the huge gym into an inviting, intimate, welcoming space. “The Palestra is essentially a huge blank canvas,” Michele says. “The design possibilities are endless.” Her main logistical challenge was transforming the Palestra in such a small amount of time. “Often I felt like my team and I were competing on a reality TV show, tasked with an incredible design challenge with a daunting deadline. But luckily, I love a good challenge, and it was a lot of fun!” Michele’s core team of seven worked on campus for two weeks preparing for the big conversion. Michele Dinelli and his crew helped out by installing carpeting, setting up the guest tables, building the stage, and laying down the dance floor, among other things. Cronoparty catered the event, the Emme crew implemented the ambitious lighting plan, and countless volunteers helped with decorating tables and other odd jobs. “Successfully executing an event of this magnitude means managing and orchestrating a lot of moving parts and wearing many hats,” Michele says. “But when all was said and done and the party went off without a 34 eTASIS

hitch, I was proud and extremely touched to witness faculty and alumni, many of whom I am proud to call my lifelong friends, reconnecting and genuinely having the time of their lives. It’s amazing to be a part of something like that.” But the night, and our beautiful new building, would not have been possible without the remarkable generosity of Ferit Şahenk ‘83. Ferit gave a thoughtful and inspirational speech explaining why he feels so connected to TASIS, causing the audience to break out in applause (and some wipe teary eyes!) throughout. His commitment to education is laudable, and the Gala gave him and us the chance to celebrate Mark and Horst, too - two of the teachers who guided Ferit to becoming the man he is today. As the celebrating continued into the wee hours, compliments became more frequent as alumni and guests alike marveled at the décor and atmosphere of the party. “I cannot believe this is at a high school,” said one woman from Turkey. “It is a very glamorous gym!” This sort of feedback makes Michele smile. “Ultimately, my main design goal was for our guests to walk into the Palestra and feel like they were inside a completely new and surprising space,” she says. “I wanted our guests to experience that “wow” factor and feel like they were in for a truly memorable evening. I believe we accomplished that.”

Gala Photos

Honorees Video

Spring 2013 35

Alumni Reunions, Events, and News All-Class Reunion in New York City

Class of 1974 – 40-Year Reunion

All-Class Reunion in Los Angeles

Roubik Aftandilians Kathy Gamble Pilugin Dieter Metzger

November 23, 2013 6:00 - 9:00 pm Casa Italiana at Columbia University

February 2014 Watch for details in the fall.

All-Class Reunion in Boston March or April 2014 Watch for details in the fall.

Class of 1964 – 50-Year Reunion April 4-6, 2014 New York City For more informationa contact

Joe Cook Judy Yale Marta Babson Classmates from other ’60s classes, especially the class of ’63, are invited to join in!

Mario d’Azzo All About Town

June 11-14, 2014 in Lugano For more information contact:

Other 70s alumni are also invited!

Class of 2004 – 10-Year Reunion

Summer 2014 in Lugano For more information contact: Masa Yo Anyone else planning a reunion, please contact the alumni office to add your plans to the calendar.

Find us on Facebook!

Ukes in Schools Our own Jeanie Cunningham ’75 is making waves in California with the Ukes in Schools program! Started in October 2012, the program teaches local schoolchildren how to play the ukulele, which has been a huge success so far, even making the local news! She is spending the summer developing a uke instruction manual for teachers. See this YouTube video for inspiration!

TASIS’s own troubador, Mario d’Azzo has been sharing his gift with the masses! On Monday, May 27, he was a guest on Gianluca Verga’s Rete Uno Showcase on Swiss Radio. Mario was joined by Christof Zanecchia ’04 to present songs from his 2012 album Salute al Vecchio. Mario also performed as part of Lugano’s Aspettando Estival on June 7-8. 36 eTASIS

Campo Science Construction

Young Alumni Making Waves in Science… Stefan Gygax ’08 was one of twelve individuals chosen from a pool of over 400 for a research associate position at the prestigious Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which is jointly managed by the US Department of Energy and UC Berkeley. Stefan is doing classified research work on advanced materials to withstand cosmic radiation, and works with the most sophisticated microscopes in the world. Caroline Gorham ’07 is the second

The Campo Science site is buzzing with activity, and progress is being made every single week. The TASIS online auction and the live auction during the Gala raised CHF 53,500, all of which will go towards outfitting the new science labs. The project is on schedule, and our young scientists will begin to use the classrooms and labs in fall 2014.

University of Virginia doctoral candidate to win the NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship. Along with encouraging publication and presentations, the fellowship includes a grant of $10,000 to travel and work at NASA during the year. Caroline’s research focuses on the need for energy harvesting in space to ensure return mission success. She

Peace, man

intends to investigate the effects of non-crystalline structure,

TASIS alumnus Oliver Rizzi Carlson ’01 wrote to spread the

i.e. tetrahedral and fractal networks, on photovoltaic device

word on his “Nesting Peace” summit on infrastructures for peace,

efficiency. Read more her website.

to be held in Geneva this fall. Writes Oliver, “This will be an innovative, landmark event in the history of peace, promoting novel and effective approaches to peacebuilding. What’s more, we are organizing and designing the event itself as an example of an infrastructure for peace in order to demonstrate its principles and its

…and Making Waves in the Water! Geena Krueger ’08 is a waterski champion who competes in professional events around the world. She’s a member of the German Waterski National Team and will be competing in the European Championships in September in Greece and the World Championships in November in Santiago, Chile. She is sponsored by Teamlife and Sansrival Waterskis. Based in Winter Garden, Florida, Geena is web editor of Waterski Magazine and Transworld Wakeboard.

value. This self-referential approach is not only rare in peacework, but also serves to reveal peace as essentially a process of learning and cultural development. I believe others in the TASIS community would be interested to know about this project by an alumnus who owes much of his interest and understanding of peace to TASIS!” More information here. Spring 2013 37

As part of their final exam, our 9th Grade Introduction to Literature students had one hour to write about how the Hero’s Journey, found in such texts as Homer’s The Odyssey and Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, applies to their own lives. The Hero’s Journey outlines the dynamic process that begins with the hero’s departure from home, continues to where he confronts his true nature, and concludes when he returns home again. One of the standout essays was by Alina Chavez Pustilnik ’16.

The Hero’s Journey to TASIS I never considered myself to be a hero or thought of myself as more than I am. But, I am the hero of my own story. As of today, I decide to be the hero of the story that I am writing. This story happens to be my life. Much like Santiago from The Alchemist, who proves to be his own hero, I am going through the hero’s journey. The hero’s journey consists of three stages: departure, initiation, and return. Most recently, I have been a hero in my own life by coming to TASIS. I departed on my journey several months ago after I received the call to adventure: an email from my school’s counselor. She told me to consider going to boarding school as she thought it would be a great opportunity. As I left her office, I had so many thoughts in my head. I knew I had to leave home at some point, but I didn’t know it had to be so soon. I came home in the afternoon and told my mom about it. Like the counselor, she told me that it would be a great opportunity for me. I started considering the idea of going to boarding school, and although I was extremely scared, I agreed to it. I crossed the threshold into the unknown on August 23, 2012.

On that day, I hopped on several planes and passed many borders to get to my new home in De Nobili, where my journey would initiate. I arrived to TASIS afraid. My parents left to go back home to By coming to TASIS, I went Mexico, and I was even more afraid. I had a couple of miserable weeks until I had an apotheosis: I realized that life keeps on going, and the people who love you through a departure, initiation, will be there for you no matter where you are. After I gained this insight, my new and return, and I proved to life changed completely; I started living my experience to the fullest. I will forever myself that I am the hero in the cherish the moments I spent with my friends in the dorms, traveling, and even story of my own life.....I leave studying. Although I now want this experience to last forever, it has to come to an end. TASIS a new and improved version of myself. Sometimes I wonder what would have become of me if I hadn’t come here.

Now, school is over and so is my TASIS experience. Leaving won’t be easy, but it is my time to once again hop on a plane and cross the threshold to return to my old home. I leave with my “elixir of life:” the people who love you will be there for you no matter what. I also leave with some of the most amazing and unique friendships that one can ever make. I now have to learn how to balance my old life and my new life, my old home and my new home. Even if it is not going to be easy, I know

that I can do it. By coming to TASIS, I went through a departure, initiation, and return, and I proved to myself that I am the hero in the story of my own life. I departed home scared of what my new life was going to be like. I initiated my journey by realizing that the people who love me will always be there or me. Because of this understanding my boarding school experience was the best one ever. Now, as I return to my old school, I have to learn how to live my old life while embracing the new one. I leave TASIS a new and improved version of myself. Sometimes I wonder what would become of me if I hadn’t come here.


Don’t miss the Conversations Think of the TASIS website as Mission Control, or the Hub, or Grand Central. Our new design means that it’s easier than ever to find the information you’re looking for, from academics to sports scores to alumni events. Check out the new public pages for students, parents, alumni, and faculty. TASIS has two official Facebook pages. The TASIS Alumni page is focused on our alumni and celebrates events, milestones, and the daily lives of our alumni around the world. Our general TASIS Facebook page celebrates the day-to-day hum of campus life with daily posts connecting you to what’s happening on the hill.

TASIS tweets! Follow our Twitter feed to follow TASIS life in 140 characters or fewer.

Over 140,000 photographs have been collected and uploaded to the TASIS SmugMug galleries. Dive in and relive your favorite TASIS memories!

Once upon a time, ‘pinning’ meant ‘going steady’ - now it’s a social media revolution! TASIS is quickly building its Pinterest boards with campus images, interesting articles, links, and alumni activities.

The TASIS Switzerland YouTube channel includes videos of a variety of campus activities. Most recently, we’ve uploaded a special series by videographer Andy Bryant, including footage of the new Şahenk Fine Arts Center. TASIS is active on many social media networks, and we’re doing our best to connect with you in a variety of ways. Just as important to us is facilitating connections between you—those in our community. Alumni, parents, students, former teachers and staff, and friends of our academic year and summer programs are encouraged to join in the conversations. Spring 2013 39

TASIS The American School In Switzerland CH-6926 Montagnola, Collina d’Oro, Switzerland Tel: +41 91 960 5151 -


Spring 2013 eTASIS  

This is the Spring 2013 issue of eTASIS, the e-magazine of The American School in Switzerland

Spring 2013 eTASIS  

This is the Spring 2013 issue of eTASIS, the e-magazine of The American School in Switzerland